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7/22/2005
02:28 AM
Fred Langa
Fred Langa
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Langa Letter: Converting Audio Files? Let 'Er Rip!

Readers suggest more MP3 and audio-file tools than you can shake a memory stick at!

PlexTools
I have a Plextor CD writer and a Creative sound card and just use the tools that came with this hardware. The Plextor CD writer came with a piece of software called PlexTools. One part of this is "Audio CD Maker." This is very easy to use, you just drag and drop the audio files (MP3s, WAVs, etc.) into the "Audio CD Maker" window. It reads the artist and track title from the source file if present or you can enter it manually. Its only limitation is that the audio files must be "CD Quality" (i.e., 2 channels/16 bits/44100Hz). If I have files that are not 2 channels/16 bits/44100Hz, then I load them into the "Wave Studio" program that came with the Creative sound card and use this program's "convert format" option to convert them to 2 channels/16 bits/44100Hz. I know this information won't help people who don't have this hardware, but I'm perfectly satisfied with these programs.
-- Bruce Robson

Acoustica MP3 CD Burner
Hello Fred! I've used a program called "Acoustica MP3 CD Burner" through 2 1/2 computers (2 different CD-RW drives) and it's performed very well for me. I can't remember the last coaster I made. I had tried a lot of the available products back when I originally picked this and none were as simple to use or as flawless in their operation. I have version 3.1 and it's now up to 4.0, according to their Web site.
Best Regards.
-- Bullitt D.

RecordNow
Fred, et.al, I personally use Sonic-RecordNow and I don't think it can be beat. Wonderful program and I have NEVER had any problems with it... Here is a link to the main site and below is a little more info.

After you get there, scroll down and have a look at RecordNow Deluxe Suite v.7.2. Sure, it costs money, but if you want quality, you have to pay for it. If you don't see the actual one I am talking about, go to this link. Hope this helps and I highly recommend it.
<-- Burt

Here's my 2 bits' worth -- I have a program which was bundled into my Compaq; it's called RecordNow. When I tried to burn a CD, it was reasonably clear and easy to use. However, when I tried to play the CS back it would work up to maybe the 9th or 10th track, then freeze up. I have managed to get working CDs by reducing my burn speed to minimum (what a pain! - why bother having a higher speed burner?) and not filling the cd to the max. I leave about 5 megs free space. Cheers.
-- Dave Spragge

Burrrn
The best I have found is Burrrn. It has a very simple GUI, reads metadata from the mp3 files to burn CD-audio, will even normalize volume if you want it to (good for making mix cd's). In some cases -- if the files have been encoded with the popular LAME encoder -- it can even produce "gapless" audio CDs, which is a pretty rare feature (mp3 files tend to have slight breaks at the beginning and end even when the burner is set to have no gaps, which become audible when music is continuous from one track to the next, as on a live album or dance mix cd, etc.). Burrrn handles several other formats out of the box as well, as you can see on their Web site
-- Burt Frennolds

Winamp
Fred, I use Winamp to convert the MP3s to WAV format; then use Roxio to burn the wave files to CD. Using Winamp CTRL-P for preferences; then under 'Plug-ins/Output' select "Nullsoft Disk Writer" plug-in...(out_disk.dll). Just 'play' the selected MP3s; there won't be any sound, but they'll be quickly converted to the output folder specified. Be sure to change the output back to "waveOut plug-in (out_wave.dll)" for regular playing of MP3s.
-- Jim Chaisson

Adaptec CD Creator (now part of Roxio)
I make great CDs with my old Win98 and Adaptec CD Creator that came with the computer. I think it's a 4x burn. It converts mp3s to wavs and burns the disk in about 20 minutes.
-- Chris Aichelman

Creative OEM Software
Aloha, Fred, I got the Creative Nomad Zen Xtra 30gb model for Xmas. I chose that model over the iPod because of the battery issue that the iPod seems to have -- this player has a user-replaceable battery. I have only used it briefly but I'm heading on a month-long vacation and will be putting it to the test. At this point I have more than 1,600 songs on it, less than half of my personal collection, and still going. It seems that if you have a mainstream player it would have come with burning/ripping software, at least this one did, so I wonder why this person isn't using the software that came with his unit? As far as the software that came with my Nomad Zen, it works like a breeze. Connects to the Web and pulls the data needed for the album; track names, album name, etc. You can catalogue the music in your HD folder by artist, genre, or album, and a few other qualifiers, actually three of these qualifiers are always in effect and you can decide which ones and in which order you want your music displayed.

The question was about burning the MP3 to a CD audio format creating an audio file and again the Creative software says that it can do this. I, too, am new at this, but so far I am very happy with the Creative product. I tend to take long trips and am looking forward to not lugging around a bulky & heavy pack of CDs and still only having 20 or so albums with me. I am just thrilled as I continue to dump albums into this unit and it doesn't get any bigger or heavier! 8-). I will still bring some small speakers for listening in my hotel room, though. Before I realized that the software that came with my unit worked so well I did many searches for ripping software, these seemed to be the best-rated ones .... Ripper, RipperX, and Freeware.

This site in general has many programs related to ripping and converting music, a good place to start.
-- Chris Broussard

QuickBurn
Dear Fred, Although I wouldn't normally recommend shareware (tend to avoid it unless I've absolutely no other choice, as is the case here), the best burner I've found thus far for audio CDs is Quick Burn (R.M. deBoer Software). This one shows you exactly how much space is used/left, and hasn't created nearly as many coasters as the other freeware/shareware alternatives.
-- Steven Burn

Real Audio
Real Audio should be worth a look. Burned a CD last night (first time) for a friend. It included MP3 and MOV files. The software put them on the CD and another machine, and also using Real software it played both types of file back. The instructions suggest you can create files for audio CD as well as MP3 players.
-- Dale Huffington

dMC/dBPowerAMP
I have found a very good ripper called dMC from dBPowerAMP. DMC is a very fast ripper that has the ability to create a variety of file types from the standard CD audio, WAV, and MP3 to less-known types such as MP4, AAC, APE, Real Media, and OGG Vorbis, down to obscure types like Sun Audio (AU/SND), FLAC, MPC, MP3Pro, and the Atari SAP Music Archive (SAP). These file types are all supported through free add-ons in the Codec Central page. Also, while ripping, dMC connects to the CD Database and automatically downloads all the track information. While the burner portion of the program is shareware, the ripping part is free.
-- Dan

Hi Fred. I use PowerAmp for ripping, using the LAME codec. It can be found here. I use Nero for ALL my burning needs. There is a program that claims "perfect, bit for bit lossless audio," called Monkey's Audio. But I've not checked it out yet. It can be found here. Hope this helps.
-- Daniel

Some of the tools I've used that I still use are: dbPowerAmp. DBpoweramp is my workhorse, takes CDs and rips them any way you want. It also includes a converter so you can convert from one format to another, i.e., MP3 to Ogg to Flac to Monkey's Audio and any other codec if that is available for plug-in. Winamp is what I use if dBpoweramp can't do it; it's a lot more difficult to rip/convert with this. Both of these are freeware. For tagging the file I use Mp3 tag tools. To group all your mp3's in a folder, open it up with this program and you can mass-tag them (author, album, year, etc.) and it gives you various info such as encoding type. Now what happens if the mp3's are too loud, too soft, clipping, etc.? Use mp3 gain -- from what I understand it's not a normalizer and it doesn't change the files like a normalizer would so you can always make changes without affecting the file. Now how do you organize them for burning on a CD or uploading them to a MP3 player? Well, most MP3 players and CD players that play mp3 allow you to put the files in folders to organize them the way you want, but they don't allow you to put them in a particular order unless you rename them with numbers such as 001 song.mp3. Rather than going thru this process, you can use AlbumWrap -- enter them in the program in the order you want (you can enter the same song multiple times if you want), then it will wrap them like a zip file for mp3's and allow you to play the large file in any player. Beware of vbr files, though, because some of them don't play right once you wrap them. You can always convert them to cbr via dBPowerAmp and then wrap them. I use the Cowan iAudio CW300 mp3 player, even though there is some limitation with it such as no uploading mp3's back into your computer and the voice recorder is in a proprietary format. The primary reason I got this one is because it takes AA batteries, which I can get very cheap (100 units for less than a $1). I have tried many programs and still do if something catches my interest, however, these are what I have been using for years and they are all freeware except for AlbumWrap, which is $15. Oh, by the way, just in case no one mentions it, most standalone DVD players can play mp3 files; you can have 4.7g of mp3s playing out of your home theatre setup, stereo setup, or however you listen to music at home. You can have mp3's play nonstop for days this way!
-- Dick Sasaki



Audacity
Acoustica MP3 CD Burner
Adaptec CD Creator
Ashampoo
Audio Catalyst
Audiograbber
Burn Quick
Burn4Free
BurnAtOnce
Burrrn
Cakewalk Pyro
CD Burner Pro
CD Burner XP Pro
CD'n'Go
CD Extreme



CD to MP3 Freeware
CDex
Cheetah Burner
Creative OEM Software
DeepBurner
Disc Master
dMC/dBPowerAMP
Easy CD-DA Extractor
Exact Audio Copy
Express Burn
Feurio
Free Rip
HotBurn
HT Fireman
iTunes



J. River Media Center
JetAudio
K3b
Musicmatch
Nero
PlexTools
Real Audio
RecordNow
QuickBurn
Quintessential
Roxio
Shorten Files
Winamp
Windows Media Player


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